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MHS celebrates Black History month

DeBorah+Ahmed%2C+performer%2C+dances+an+African+dance+known+as+Fanga.+During+Black+History+month%2C+MHS+hosted+two+presentations.
DeBorah Ahmed, performer, dances an African dance known as Fanga. During Black History month, MHS hosted two presentations.

DeBorah Ahmed, performer, dances an African dance known as Fanga. During Black History month, MHS hosted two presentations.

Photographed by Marta Mieze

Photographed by Marta Mieze

DeBorah Ahmed, performer, dances an African dance known as Fanga. During Black History month, MHS hosted two presentations.

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February is known as Black History month, so to celebrate MHS had two presentations to acknowledge and recognize the past, the present and the future in Black activism.

Monday, Feb. 12, a couple of actors, Brian McKinley and Brandy Threet from the Black Repertory Company, told the story of Harriet Tubman and her journey of bringing liberation to slaves through underground railroads.

“A lot of the history, we believe, is lost, a lot of it is not really taught,” Threet said. “The information that I have has been taught to me outside of school.”

The story was told through multiple letters to Harriet Tubman and songs which engaged the audience of students and teachers. The actors have brought this story to numerous schools since November.

“Most communities feel like slavery was so long ago and it isn’t as recent as it actually is,” McKinley said.

Jilian Bunderson, sophomore, said MHS hasn’t done enough to acknowledge Black History month. Although her class attended the assembly, she was not aware it was because of Black History month.

“[These presentations] help us learn about what people have had to go through in the past,” Bunderson said. “We can learn about our nation’s history.”

Although, Bunderson said, she liked the focus on Harriet Tubman and her story even though the actors might have been better.

“It was an enjoyable presentation to see,” Bunderson said.

Brittany Sharitz, language arts teacher, said that Black history is also U.S. history and therefore should be taught and talked about just as equally.

“I hope that when students are learning about individuals from the past who fought for what they believe in, they consider ways to voice their own beliefs and take a stand for what they value,” Sharitz said.

While the program seemed to be aimed at younger audiences, Sharitz said, it still carried an important message about upholding and fighting for your beliefs.

Not only did the presentation discuss the story of Harriet Tubman, Sharitz said, but also showed university students making an impact after high school.

“It’s important to learn about the experiences and influential figures of all cultures in our country,” Sharitz said.

It’s important to learn about the experiences and influential figures of all cultures in our country”

— Brittany Sharitz

,” Sharitz said.

On Friday, Feb. 23, another presentation featuring DeBorah Ahmed, performer, accompanied by two musicians, was telling stories of West Africa, featuring drums and an African Fanga dance.

Tracey Waeckerle, Assistant Principal, was the one who coordinated the first Black History month presentation while Susan Rose,  partners in education coordinator, organized the second one. She said she picked the story of Harriet Tubman because it was the spotlight act of Black Repertory Company.

“It was kind of unique how they were presenting it, because it was story but then they also added songs and audience interaction with it” Waeckerle said.

These presentations are important at any time, not only Black History month, Waeckerle said, but was fitting to have this month. She also said that she plans to continue having these presentations in future years too, so all students could have a chance to experience them.

“We want to honor those who have made an impact throughout history,” Waeckerle said. “It was a way to show more of the personal challenges that a figure that we’ve all heard of have faced.”

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MHS celebrates Black History month